Helen Mirren: A Wise and Witty Dame

Helen Mirren: A Wise and Witty Dame

Helen Mirren is alone. Tucked into her 500-year-old villa in the south of Italy, she’s contentedly resting, by herself, before returning to work in a month. The classically trained English stage actress — whose nearly 50-year television and film career has landed her dozens of awards, including an Oscar (for 2006’s The Queen), and qualified her for the title of dame — would seem the unlikeliest of solitary persons. Yet, Mirren is the first to point out that acting in front of a camera “is a very lonesome operation, actually,” and that’s just fine with her. “I’m perfectly happy being on my own. It doesn’t make me crazy.”

Until her filmmaker husband, Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Ray), joins her on the vacation property the couple bought seven years ago, Mirren is amusing herself by doing what she does in Italy, which is gardening.

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